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Start a Sales Train

Today, let’s stretch some of the new creative muscles found in more recent versions of CorelDRAW together. Not using the newest version? That’s OK—this also will reveal some of the useful, productive, enhanced features in tools that have been hiding in older CorelDRAW versions this entire time because the procedures in this article have been tested in CorelDRAW2018, CorelDRAW2017, and X8. Working in an older version than that? You can force older versions to duplicate the end result, but I suspect that many of you will consider upgrading to the current version of CorelDRAW after getting a feel for the upgraded tools it puts at our disposal.

Start a Sales Train

How to Create a Cool, Customizable Train in CoreDRAW

By Roy Brewer, CRM

Today, let’s stretch some of the new creative muscles found in more recent versions of CorelDRAW together. Not using the newest version? That’s OK—this also will reveal some of the useful, productive, enhanced features in tools that have been hiding in older CorelDRAW versions this entire time because the procedures in this article have been tested in CorelDRAW2018, CorelDRAW2017, and X8. Working in an older version than that? You can force older versions to duplicate the end result, but I suspect that many of you will consider upgrading to the current version of CorelDRAW after getting a feel for the upgraded tools it puts at our disposal.

Before we begin, I encourage you to visit the Awards and Personalization website; you undoubtedly will gain more from this article if you download the file TRAIN.CDR from www.awardspersonalization.org/InsightsMagazine/Resources.aspx and use it as we work through the following steps:

  1. Once you’ve downloaded and opened the file above in CorelDRAW, click anywhere on the train and note the Information area at the bottom of the screen showing that the image is a curve: it is a single object with a red outline and gray fill.

  2. Figure 1

  3. Click off* of the train to deselect the object. Then, set the Nudge factor (to be used shortly) to 1 in. (See FIGURE 1). Note: the Nudge factor will be available on the Property Bar only when the Pick tool is chosen and no objects are selected.
    *The term “click off” will not be found in any of CorelDRAW’s help files, but many people use it to refer to how a user can deselect all objects by clicking on an area of the workspace that contains no objects. The Information area at the bottom of the workspace should show that nothing is selected after you have “clicked off.”

  4. Figure 2

  5. Select the Knife tool, which is found in the toolbar within the Crop flyout (see FIGURE 2).

  6. Figure 3

  7. You’ll note that the Property bar changes as soon as the Knife tool is selected (see FIGURE 3). I think most of you would find it helpful to experiment with the different settings to better understand their functionality. For this project, we need to pay attention to the following settings:
    • 2-Point Line Mode: selected
    • AutoClose: make sure this is not selected
    • Freehand Smoothing: not relevant
    • Cut Span: none
    • Outline Options: automatic
    • Bounding Box: not relevant

  8. Figure 4

  9. Use the Knife tool to “cut” the engine section from the rest of the train. Ensure you make this vertical cut closer to the engine than to the other car, as illustrated by the green line in FIGURE 4. (To make this easier, try holding down the Ctrl key after clicking the first point; this will force the line to be vertical.)
  10. To quickly change from the Knife tool back to the Pick took, tap the space bar on your keyboard. Then, note the details found in the information area at the bottom of the screen: it should read “Two Objects Selected on Layer 1.”
  11. Click off of the image area to deselect all objects (or press the Esc key).
  12. Click on one of the two objects, either the engine or the rest of the train. Note the details found in the information area at the bottom of the screen: it should read “Group of Two Objects on Layer 1.” The purpose for having the gray fill in the original object was to show how intelligently CorelDRAW determines how we most likely want the result of a knife cut to be viewed in the end product. You’ll find that CorelDRAW will use different solutions based on the object being cut and the Knife tool settings the user has selected in the Property bar.
  13. Ungroup both the train engine and “non-engine” (ie, the coal car/caboose) objects and delete from each pair the object that represents the gray fill.
  14. Select the non-engine object.
  15. Select the Shape tool in the toolbar (or do so automatically using the F10 key). Once you have selected the Shape tool, all of the nodes in the non-engine object will be shown.

  16. Figure 5

  17. Using the Shape tool, marquee** select all of the nodes in the coal car, but none in the caboose; FIGURE 5 shows exactly what you will select.
    **Corel uses the term “marquee select” to mean dragging a box around object(s) or node(s) as a method of selecting all of them simultaneously.
  18. Press Ctrl+C on your keyboard or select Edit>Copy in the menu bar to copy the selection to the clipboard.
  19. Tap the space bar to switch to the Pick tool.
  20. Select the non-engine object and nudge it 1 in. to the right using the right arrow key on your keyboard.

  21. Figure 6

  22. Press Ctrl+V on your keyboard or select Edit>Paste in the menu bar to copy the item on your clipboard (the coal car) to its original position (see FIGURE 6). This is how you will make your train longer.
  23. To add another coal car, select the right-most two objects (ie, the new coal car and the original grouped object), nudge them to the right by 1 in., and copy from the clipboard again, just as you did in step 16. You can continue doing this until you have the number of coal cars your application requires.
  24. Marquee select everything or press Ctrl+A on your keyboard and then select Object>Combine in the menu bar. The details in the Information area at the bottom of the screen should now read: Curve on Layer 1. We’re back to one object, but it’s broken apart so that we can’t fill it.
  25. Selecting Object>Join Curves from the menu bar will bring up the Join Curves docker, in which we want to adjust the following settings as indicated:
    • Extend: selected
    • Gap Tolerance: 0.2 in.
    • Radius: not applicable
  26. Click Apply to make your new train a closed shape, enabling you to use the fill of your choice.


Figure 7


Figure 8

Hopefully FIGURES 7 and 8 will give you some creative ideas for how you could use and market these new tools—perhaps you have room by your cash register for some fun impulse items just like these?

Roy Brewer, CRM, is the founder of Engraving Concepts. Brewer is a longtime CorelDRAW teacher, through his company, the Awards and Personalization Association, and many other forums. He has earned multiple Gold Obelisk awards for his work, and Engraving Concepts recently was recognized as the 2017–18 Supplier of the Year—Multiple Locations. Visit www.engravingconcepts.com to learn more.

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